Friday, June 8, 2012

Applications Abound in E Ink’s Booth at Display Week

E Ink, the company that dominates the front-plane electrophoretic e-book reader (EBR) space, strutted its stuff this year at Display Week with an impressive booth that showed off a myriad of applications from conventional EBRs to low-power emergency public signage (think critical tsunami escape route data) operating under no-power disaster conditions.

It’s about the huge number of possible applications, and demonstrating what E Ink partners have done to solve everyday problems with low-power, always-on display solutions that are daylight readable, rugged, and most importantly, green, as Director of Product Management Giovanni Mancini told us.

New at the show were faster next-generation color displays, EBRs with front-lights for night-time reading, and cool unique implementations like a retail case lock with built-in display features, plus the latest driver chip technology from partners like Epson, who just announced a low-power SoC (S1D13M01) that features a MIPS-24 Kef CPU core with display controller that is optimized for next-generation reader and tablet devices.

E Ink’s booth was a real stand-out on the show floor. Unlike most companies that filled the space with ribbon cabled electronic components wired to the latest prototypes, the company instead chose to feature cool new product concepts that highlight just how creative designers can get with electronic ink. For example, for the E Ink display products targeting daylight readability, the company filled a portion of the booth with ambient-bright sunlight using special stage lighting to help show off the true capabilities of its electronic ink technology. Display ruggedness was almost understated, with E Ink panels built into a “cross-walk” demo, right on the booth floor. You’re suddenly hit with the notion that this stuff is so robust, you can walk on it, directed by – yep, you guessed it – a low-power E Ink stop light that uses the reflective power of the sun, saving both energy and cost by drastically reducing the number of high-bright LEDs needed to direct traffic.

We were told that kudos should go to Jenn Vail, Sr. Manager of Marketing at E Ink, who achieved a zen-like, almost museum-quality exhibit for the show with an open architecture design and elements of Feng Shui energy flow that invited-in the show goers to sample the next wave in electrophoretic displays. One last note: true to its innovation heritage, E Ink sponsored the wildly popular Innovation Zone. or I-Zone for short, at Display Week this year. This was a hit of the show, bringing in emerging technology of all types that normally wouldn’t have an opportunity for this kind of mass exposure. Well done. - Steve Sechrist


It's been four years since I first set foot on the exhibit floor of Display Week, and one of the first people I met was E Ink VP Sri Peruvemba, who was patient enough to explain to me not only what his company did but the background of the entire e-Reader market.

Back then, the booth was a sea of monochrome products, with perhaps one or two color prototypes. These days, as color e-Paper takes off, E Ink's booth has become a more colorful place. It's exciting to see a technology evolve like this one has.

As ID reporter Steve Sechrist notes above, E Ink's booth was extremely well-designed (and also a big attention-getter, judging from the number of people crowding around it) and the company had lots of cool concept products to show, including a waterproof kayak display and a display for a handheld drill. Below is a picture of Sri Peruvemba (left) and me in front of the aforementioned E Ink stoplight. -- Jenny Donelan, Information Display


  1. Deserved praise for E-Ink. Nothing breeds success like success, and Sriram has done a heck of a job. (I used to work with him in another lifetime when he was with the late Three-Five Systems). Meanwhile, buried beneath the hoopla on electronic paper and OLEDs (I heard that Samsung's 55" OLED TV is going for $10K), there were less glamorous -- but meaningful -- parts of the show. E.g. -- Kyocera Display had some nifty automotive displays and, going to the bottom of the glamor spectrum, some passive matrix TN (you read that right) displays with contrast ratios of 600:1. Lot of customers still want TN, and Kyocera Display is in a unique position to offer it .
    You can use them in your Kindle but you can put them in your PRNDL.

  2. You can't use them in your Kindle but you can put them in your PRNDL. (Sorry for typo.)